Brand You: Buffing Up a Digital Reputation

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In the digital world we live in, we are constantly bombarded with information that influences our perception of many different brands. A poor advertising campaign or a PR snafu can easily tarnish a brand’s image. What about your personal brand though? The idea of personal branding has been around for a while now, and your personal image is easier than ever to create online via websites like Facebook, Google+, etc. However, the rapidly expanding reach of the internet in our daily lives is also making it harder than ever for some to accurately present themselves.[more]

Say, like the author of this post, you have the great fortune of sharing a name with a Miami Dolphins quarterback and a Tampa Bay Rays pitcher. You can imagine that makes for good conversation with new acquaintances yet might make it tricky for folks to find accurate information about you on the Internet. Unfortunately, some people share their names with less than ideal identities. For example, BrandYourself’s co-founder Pete Kistler found out he shared a name with a convicted drug dealer when he Googled himself. This could be a funny coincidence for some, but Pete was a college student at the time having a hard time getting an internship because of this errant association.

Fast forward a few years and Pete’s website, BrandYourself , has as its mission statement, “We believe people should be able to control what they look like online — without spending thousands on a reputation company.” In brief, the service takes a look at how relevant search results for your name are to your actual identity. In a similar fashion to Klout, BrandYourself gives you a score (I got a D+) and then suggests steps to improve the results of searches for your name.

To be sure, BrandYourself is not the first service of its kind and is, indeed, quite similar to Reputation.com. But the emergence of services like Klout, BrandYourself, and Reputation.com show just how important online identities are as our physical and digital identities converge.

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